Who will win chamber's top business award?

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The West Orange Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual Big Orange Awards ceremony this Friday, Jan. 30, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and nine (or 10) businesses or organizations will be recognized for their contributions to the area.

“The event is the chamber’s way of honoring the outstanding people and businesses that have facilitated opportunity in our West Orange community,” Chamber President Stina D’Uva said.

More than 250 chamber members and guests are expected to attend the annual awards program, which has been in existence for decades.

“This event will be the largest in most recent history, and we’re excited to showcase the wonderful businesses and people and what they provide to our business community,” she said.

At least one of the five finalists for Business Member of the Year will be presented the award that evening. It is presented to a member business that has worked to enhance the business climate within the West Orange community and has exceeded expectations in volunteer assignments.

“We had more nominees for Business Member of the Year this year than in any other previous year,” D’Uva said.

She added that there could be two given away, possibly one each for a small and a large business, but that won’t be revealed until Friday night.

The nominees are: Boost Marketing LLC, which offers professional resources to small to mid-size businesses so they can function as a larger organization; Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the world with displays reaching 40 countries; The Digital CPA, an outsourcing company that handles payroll and accounting for businesses; The Whiddon Group, owned by Jaclyn Whiddon, who serves as a consultant with an emphasis on marketing for orthodontists; and West Orange Times & Observer, a community newspaper in West Orange County that was purchased last year by Observer Media Group and expanded in the local market.

Eight other chamber members are being recognized with other awards, as well. They were selected by a special committee.

Betsy VanderLey, of DRMP Inc., will receive the Chairman’s Award. This is given to an individual who has given exceptional service to the chamber and the community during the previous year.

Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn will be presented the Sam Hovsepian Award. This is given in memory of one of West Orange’s outstanding citizens and goes to a man who “stands head and shoulders above the crowd” for contributions, service and leadership to the community.

Jim Densmore, of Parkland International Realty, will be named Ambassador of the Year. This award is given in recognition of endless dedication, energy and service to the West Orange Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, will receive the Mary VanDeventer “The Spirit of West Orange” Award. It is presented to a woman who demonstrates excellence in her profession and inspires other women to succeed. She must contribute time and talent for the betterment of the community.

Dick Batchelor, of Dick Batchelor Management Group Inc., is being recognized with The George Bailey Award, which is given in recognition of demonstrated excellence in fostering partnerships for the benefit of the local community.

Matthew’s Hope Ministries Inc. will receive the Bert Roper Award. It is given to a champion who has improved the well-being and quality of life in the community.

Randy June of June Engineering Consultants Inc. will be the recipient of the Danniel J. Petro — The Bright Future of West Orange Award. This is given in recognition of entrepreneurial tenacity and steadfast determination that facilitates opportunity through investment in community and lifelong relationships that keep our future bright.

Densmore is also receiving the Lifetime Director Award.

Previous Lifetime Director awards have been given to James Thomas, Biosphere Consulting Inc.; Jim Neumayer, Neumayer Productions; Russ Salerno, United Legacy Bank; Julie Kleffel, BankFirst; Diane Trees, University of Central Florida; and retirees Kay Behrens, Neal Harris and Richard Irwin.

Friday night’s event is presented by Walt Disney World Resort, and sponsors are Orlando Health, CenturyLink and Duke Energy.


West Orange Chamber of Commerce Big Orange Awards

WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, 

WHERE: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista. 

COST: $66 for chamber members, $76 for non-members. To purchase tickets, visit wochamber.com/calendar/event_details/the_2015_big_orange_awards.

Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected]


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